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Why do Politicians Delegate?

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  • Alberto Alesina
  • Guido Tabellini

Abstract

Opportunistic politicians maximize the probability of reelection and rents from office holding. Can it be optimal from their point of view to delegate policy choices to independent bureaucracies? The answer is yes: politicians will delegate some policy tasks, though in general not those that would be socially optimal to delegate. In particular, politicians tend not to delegate coalition forming redistributive policies and policies that create large rents or effective campaign contributions. Instead they prefer to delegate risky policies to shift risk (and blame) on bureaucracies.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Harvard - Institute of Economic Research in its series Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers with number 2079.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:2079

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References

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  1. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2004. "Bureaucrats or Politicians?," NBER Working Papers 10241, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Alan S. Blinder, 1999. "Central Banking in Theory and Practice," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522608, December.
  3. Christian Schultz, 2003. "Information, Polarization and Delegation in Democracy," EPRU Working Paper Series 03-16, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  4. Alberto Alesina & Alex Cukierman, 1987. "The Politics of Ambiguity," NBER Working Papers 2468, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Mathias Dewatripont & Ian Jewitt & Jean Tirole, 1999. "The economics of career concerns: part 2 :application to missions and accountability of government agencies," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9641, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  6. Stephen Coate & Timothy Besley, 2000. "Elected versus Appointed Regulators: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7579, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Holmstrom, Bengt, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 169-82, January.
  8. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-89, November.
  9. James M. Poterba & Jürgen von Hagen, 1999. "Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number pote99-1, octubre-d.
  10. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 1759, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Timothy Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2003. "Competition and incentives with motivated agents," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2202, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  12. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
  13. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1996. "Budget Deficits and Budget Institutions," NBER Working Papers 5556, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521816755 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Allan Drazen & Marcela Eslava, 2005. "Electoral Manipulation via Expenditure Composition: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 11085, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Mathias Dewatripont & Ian Jewitt & Jean Tirole, 1999. "The economics of career concerns: part 1 :comparing information structures," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9617, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  17. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
  18. McCubbins, Mathew D & Noll, Roger G & Weingast, Barry R, 1987. "Administrative Procedures as Instruments of Political Control," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 243-77, Fall.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Guillermo Ordonez, 2005. "Don't Ask Why Things Went Wrong: Nested Reputation and Scapegoating Inefficiency," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000988, David K. Levine.
  2. Mayes, David G. & Nieto, María J. & Wall, Larry, 2008. "Multiple safety net regulators and agency problems in the EU: Is Prompt Corrective Action partly the solution?," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 232-257, September.
  3. Donato Masciandaro & Maria Nieto & Henriette Prast, 2007. "Who pays for banking supervision? Principles and practices," DNB Working Papers 141, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  4. Rodney D. Ludema & Anders Olofsgård, 2006. "Delegation versus Communication in the Organization of Government," Working Papers gueconwpa~06-06-04, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  5. Guillermo Ordonez, 2008. "Essays on Learning and Macroeconomics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000002250, David K. Levine.
  6. Yuan-Hong Ho & Chiung-Ju Huang, 2013. "Presidential Election, Checks and Balances, and Allocation of Public Expenditures in Taiwan," Journal of Economics and Management, College of Business, Feng Chia University, Taiwan, vol. 9(1), pages 31-53, January.
  7. Mayes, David G & Nieto, Maria J & Wall , Larry, 2007. "Multiple safety net regulators and agency problems in the EU: is Prompt Corrective Action a partial solution?," Research Discussion Papers 7/2007, Bank of Finland.

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